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by Sarah Chiapetta, 2Y 2018

​On Wednesday, November 8, 1,600 members of the Kellogg community gathered in the Global Hub for the third annual Kellogg on Growth conference. The theme for the day was Disruption: A Force for Progress.

The conference sought to make the case that growth and disruption are not at odds with each other, but that, especially in today’s world, they feed off of each other creating a powerful agent for change. The morning started with Dean Mike Mazzeo using Schumpeter’s descriptor of disruption as a gale of creative destruction. Dean Sally Blount argued that this so-called “destructive” force can be used with purpose to promote human progress. The rest of the day followed this theme, teaching attendees how disruption can be used as a driving force for growth in our personal lives, businesses and society at large.

Recapping Kellogg on Growth 2017

The morning keynote speaker, Mallika Chopra, framed disruption on a personal level as the ability to stop the inertia of everyday life to refocus on one’s true desires. As successful business-people, most of us are oriented towards goals, pushing toward them at all costs. However, just as important as the goals coming from your mind is the intention coming from your heart. Intention gets to questions of “Who am I?” and “What is my purpose?” Many of us have had wake-up calls telling us our path may have strayed from the things we most value: our families, our communities, our health. Mallika reassured us that when it feels like nothing is going quite right, it is everyday people who are lifting the frequency of the planet. She offered an action plan called INTENT (Incubate, Notice, Trust, Express, Nurture, Take Action) to disrupt one’s path in these moments and refocus towards what one really wants.

It turns out that businesses need to do the same thing. Throughout all the industries and business life stages examined during the day, the common thread was that change is constant. Carlos Brito, chief executive officer of AB InBev, views the role of effective management as propelling a company to disrupt itself by “opening and closing gaps.” We then have to think creatively about the problems we find in these gaps. AB InBev does this by emulating companies in different industries that excel at a capability. Professor Paul Earle also suggested that companies should step out of their comfort zones and role-play how a known innovator, such as Richard Branson, would look at the problem. And to be true innovator, Brito reminded us that we must fall in love with the problem, not the idea.

Society is ready for a new way to look at the problem too. Marcus Shingles, chief executive officer of Xprize Foundation, suggested that we are at the bend in the hockey stick of exponential technological change. Our new technological capabilities are opening up a world of possibilities for solving the world’s previously unsolvable problems, and we are only limited by our linear minds’ ability to think of solutions.

And while Xprize is looking for the moonshot problems, our student keynote speaker, Eric Muhlberger, brought a grounding spin on the theme of disruption by reminding us that small disruptions can become big ones. His company, Sofar Sounds, is disrupting live music by creating experiences where people step away from their phones and are just present with music. This simple notion has expanded to a powerful global movement.

Kellogg on Growth brought together an amazing group of speakers and attendees all unified by the common goal of finding their own space for disruption. The insights shared during the day provided powerful lessons on how we could each lift the frequency of the world, one disruption at a time.